The Nigeria Customs Service says it has obtained a presidential approval to extend distribution of seized perishable items to Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps and registered orphanages across the country.
Joseph Attah, the customs spokesperson, said during a breakfast meeting in Lagos on Monday that prior to the approval of the extension, perishable items like rice, second-hand clothes and groundnut oil had been distributed to IDP camps in the North-east only.
Almost half a million bags of 50 kilogrammes rice have so far been distributed in the region, the agency said.
Mr Attah said between January and November this year, the customs paid N1.1 trillion into the Federation account.
“Recall that last year while announcing the unprecedented revenue record of 2017 which was N1.037 trillion, we had expressed hope of breaking the record. Today, I am happy to announce that the Service has already broken 2017 record with N1.1trillion revenue,” he said.
“This is no doubt a clear testimony of the fact that the ongoing reforms of the service are impacting positively on productivity.
“Rice and other perishable items are being given to the victims of the unfortunate insurgency in the North-East. So far, a total of 424,391 (50kg) bags of rice worth N4,047,615,000.00 and other seized perishables have been distributed to IDPs in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Edo states.
“The CGC (controller-general of customs) has therefore sought and obtained presidential nod to extend distribution of these relief items to other IDP camps and registered orphanages across the country.”
Mr Attah said a list of IDPs and orphanages across the country are already being compiled in order to start the distribution “as soon as possible.”
“Hopefully, this will provide relief to fellow Nigerians who are going through tough times in the IDP camps and orphanages.”
Mr Attah said the service has been able to suppress smuggling across the Nigerian borders despite it being the most challenging aspects of the customs functions.
“Regrettably, many people still see smuggling as business not crime. In fact, smuggling is not just a crime but the mother of many crimes and criminalities.
“Violent crimes are perpetrated with dangerous items such as arms and drugs smuggled into the country.”